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Fall 2010

Dan Baker, PhD, Honored with the NADD Contribution to Clinical Practice Award

Dan Baker

Dan Baker, PhD, was honored with the Contribution to Clinical Practice Award by NADD, an association for persons with developmental disabilities and mental health needs. The NADD Contribution to Clinical Practice Award is given to a person whose contribution in the area of clinical practice has resulted in the provision of excellent clinical services and significant improvement in the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as mental health needs.  The award recognizes Dr. Baker’s efforts in bringing together multiple different perspectives on supporting mental wellness in persons with Intellectual Disabilities, and contributions to clinical practice in bridging scholarly and applied pursuits. Dr. Baker was presented with the award at the 27th Annual NADD Conference held in Seattle, Washington on November 3-5, 2010. Dr. Baker is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Community Positive Behavior Support, Transition, and Supported Employment Projects at The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The Boggs Center Launches Three New Projects

The Boggs Center recently launched three new projects. The Brain Injury Association of New Jersey has contracted with The Boggs Center to develop an ongoing training program for job coaches that addresses the needs of individuals with brain injury as they return to work. The project is being funded by a one-year grant from the Kessler Foundation. Disability Rights New Jersey has contracted with The Boggs Center to develop a white paper regarding the definition of voting and how it applies to individuals with intellectual disabilities and to develop an updated version of the voting guide “Can I Vote?” for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services (DDS) has contracted with The Boggs Center to identify and address the needs of the South Asian community related to traumatic brain injury. The Boggs Center will develop a brief survey tool to determine the level of understanding of and need for information regarding TBI among members of the representative population; interview a sample of the population to assess the need for information and education about TBI; and research and develop print, visual, and alternate resource materials to address the needs of the general South Asian population and the professionals and agencies that serve them.

The Boggs Center Welcomes Michelle Mead

Michelle MeadMichelle recently joined The Boggs Center as a Training and Consultation Specialist for the Community Positive Behavior Support project. She provides training and technical assistance to community providers supporting individuals with challenging behaviors. Prior to her employment at The Boggs Center, Michelle provided family training and support in the early intervention and school programs serving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary education and Psychology and a Masters Degree in Psychology from the College of St. Elizabeth.


The Boggs Center Welcomes 2010-2011 Clinical Pastoral Education Students

CPE StudentsSix students are participating in Clinical Pastoral Education Program at The Boggs Center, directed by Rev. Bill Gaventa, MDiv, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Community and Congregational Supports and Alice Walsh, MDiv, CPE Supervisory Candidate. The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program is a training program initiated by The Boggs Center in collaboration with community agencies in New Jersey. The Program is accredited by the national Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. The 2010-2011 CPE students and placements are: Cheryl Daniel, The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, Saddle Brook campus; Angela Brooks-Wright, The Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange campus; Victoria McGrath, Bancroft NeuroHealth; Zacharias Grant, Arc of Hunterdon County; Megan Thomas, Arc of Middlesex County; and Janet Becker, JSDD Metrowest, Inc. The WAE Center.

The Boggs Center Welcomes 2010-2011 Student Trainees

Two students are participating in The Boggs Center's Interdisciplinary Traineeship Program coordinated by Caroline Coffield, PhD, Instructor of Pediatrics and Interdisciplinary Training Coordinator of The Boggs Center. Allison Seebald, a student at Princeton University majoring in Molecular Biology with a certificate in Neuroscience, will be supervised by Deborah Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director of The Boggs Center and Professor of Pediatrics. Matthew Hundemann, an MSW student in the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program at Rutgers School of Social Work will complete his field education placement at The Boggs Center. He will be supervised by Kathy Roberson, MSW, Policy and Information Coordinator.

Advanced Educational Program for Direct Support Professionals Launched in New Jersey

Ken Ritchey, Jennifer Velez, Deborah Spitalnik, and Alison Lozano

New Jersey’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced on September 14, 2010 statewide implementation of the College of Direct Support for agencies, families, and professionals providing direct support to people receiving services through the
Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).  This announcement came as the result of work completed by The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities (NJ UCEDD) in collaboration with various New Jersey stakeholders.

This announcement, marking the beginning of a statewide and long term effort focused on direct support professional workforce development, has been a long-term goal of the disability community in New Jersey.  Efforts throughout the years, initially funded by a federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities Training Initiative Project (TIPS) grant, resulted in the development of a statewide trainers network providing mandatory pre-service trainings and a statewide Summit on Direct Support Professionals leading to the development of the NJ Direct Support Professional Workforce Development Coalition.  The persistence and ongoing importance of DSP preparation was illustrated by the NJ state team for the 2005 federal Alliance for Full Participation, selecting DSP issues as its highest priority.

The availability and successful pursuit of grant funding in 2007 through the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities made it possible to move from shared commitment to action.  Through coordination by The Boggs Center, a three year pilot of the NJ DSP Career Path in Developmental Disabilities demonstrated the model of using the College of Direct Support in providing education, mentoring, and portfolio development to reduce turnover and enhance the skills and job satisfaction of DSPs.

In addition to leading to statewide implementation of the College of Direct Support, the pilot project also led to a recommendation that the NJ DSP Career Path in Developmental Disabilities be worth 9 credits toward an Associates Degree in Human/Social Services within the state's community college network.  This was determined by a faculty review committee convened by the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development.  Raritan Valley Community College currently has a mechanism in place for DSPs to receive this credit and the Coalition is working to get this implemented at other community colleges throughout the state.

The launch of the College of Direct Support provides the opportunity for direct support professionals to have access to training to enable them to make their contribution to the individuals they serve, while also having personal educational opportunity and growth.  Use of the college’s learner management system also contributes to the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities’ ability to provide basic assurance to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services that NJ is meeting its requirements under the Home and Community Based Services Waiver, federal funding that is essential in meeting human needs. 

For more information, please contact Colleen McLaughlin, MEd, at or 732-235-9313.

Caroline Coffield, PhD, Appointed to Instructor of Pediatrics

Carrie Corrfield Congratulations to Caroline Coffield, PhD, on her appointment to Instructor of Pediatrics.

Dr. Coffield coordinates the Boggs Center’s Interdisciplinary Traineeship Program, including the Seminar on Family Centered Care and Developmental Disabilities, a required component of the pediatric rotation for all third year medical students at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ.

Dr. Coffield’s research interests include a variety of disability specific topics such as healthcare reform and establishment of a medical home for individuals with developmental disabilities and social and emotional impairments often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Coffield obtained her doctorate in Psychology from Rutgers University in 2010. She obtained her Master’s degree from Rutgers University in 2005 and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2003.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Coffield served as Project Coordinator for the Children with Early Hearing Loss and Existing Comorbid Conditions in NJ project, which is focused on families with a child with hearing loss and other existing conditions. Dr. Coffield was an Interdisciplinary Trainee at The Boggs Center during the 2006-2007 academic year.


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